Monday, January 23, 2012

Re-Kindling Interest: The Words by Douglas Clegg (novella)

This is one of a series of reviews focusing on out-of-print works that have become available again via a variety of e-book formats.

The new ebook explosion has been great for the novella. Previously only to be found in limited editions in the small press or in anthologies, this former bastard of the literary world has finally found a form in which it can thrive.

This is not only good for the authors but also for readers who may have missed out on hidden gems like this one (originally published in Four Dark Nights).

Douglas Clegg's The Words is a real stunner. In fewer than a hundred pages, Clegg creates a mythology, ages it, and sets its destiny in motion via two teenage boys, Dash and Mark, and their poorly chosen selections of reading materials.

Once Dash initiates the events, only Mark can stop them, but he can't for the life of him remember the words Dash begged him not to forget. Oh, he can remember the names that started it all, but those foreign-sounding words continue to escape him.

Clegg creates real tension, even during the flashback scenes used to explain the history and lead up to the present. Using the novella form to its utmost, The Words could have been told no other way, and I'm glad to see that it may finally find the audience that missed it the first time around.

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